WASHINGTON (WBKO) -- Sen. Rand Paul wants to make sure terrorists can't enter the country.
Paul proposed legislation that suspends visas for countries with a high risk of terrorism and impose a waiting period for background checks from other countries.
In a release, Paul said his bill will press pause on new refugee entrants from high-risk countries until stringent new screening procedures are in place.
In Bowling Green, Mohanad Hammadi and Waad Alwan were convicted terrorism-related charges that included sending money, explosives, and stinger missiles to al-Qaida in January 2013.
Paul said this instance of terrorists in his hometown was a big reason he is pushing this legislation.
"I've gotten calls and letters from Bowling Green and across Kentucky with people concerned about admitting people into our country that we're not sure if they're terrorists or not. We have a tough time knowing who any of the illegal immigrants in our country are. There is 11 million illegal immigrants in our country, 40% of them have overstayed their visas. We don't know how many of them are from the Middle East. We don't know how many people from the Middle East came to visit and are overstaying their visas. I don't think we have a good track of those who have come as students. So, we do need more controls, and I think it's kind of crazy in the midst of this expanding war from the Middle East just to open our boarders and say, hey come to our country."
Listed below are the main parts of his legislation.
Sen. Paul's legislation would suspend issuance of visas to nationals of countries with a high risk of terrorism until the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) certifies and Congress votes to approve that:
1) Aliens already admitted from high-risk countries have been fingerprinted and screened, pose no terrorist risk, and are being monitored for terrorist activity
2) Enhanced security measures are in place to screen future applicants and prevent terrorists from entering the country
3) DHS' visa entry-exit system is 100 percent complete and a tracking system is in place to catch attempted overstays
Additionally, the legislation would impose a 30-day waiting period for all entries to the U.S. in order for background checks to be completed, unless the traveler has been approved through the Global Entry program. This requirement will be lifted after DHS certifies and Congress approves that:
1) Screening of entrants is sufficient to prevent terrorists from entering the country
2) DHS' visa entry-exit system is 100 percent complete and a tracking system is in place to catch attempted overstays
Many governors are saying they won't allow Syrian refugees in their state. Governor-Elect Matt Bevin doesn't want to allow Syrian refugees in Kentucky, outgoing Gov. Steve Beshear opposes that idea.